There is a place that I live in that is cold and dark and lonely. It crushes me and leaves me disabled. It suffocates my dreams and ideas. It kills my ambition and affection. It torments me and holds me down. I can't breathe there. I can't see there. I can't move there.This place has a name. A name you know. A name you hate. A name you love. This place is called fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being enough. Fear of losing. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of not being loved. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of not doing anything that matters.
I am afraid to be me. Pure. Uninhibited. No restrictions. No apologies. Just me.
This fear that I feel makes me someone else. Some version of myself that doesn't quite measure up to my own standards. This half-me looks like me and sounds like me but never expresses my real thoughts. This half-me can't fully embrace anyone else. She can't offer a loving word or a tender touch. She is not understanding or forgiving. She cannot create anything worth sharing. She cannot conquer the world. Most days She cannot even get out of bed. She says things that I never even thought. She does things that embarrass me. She hides from love and acceptance. She questions affection and attention. No one is honest. Everyone wants something. She is not me, but...I am her.
She is a part of me that I wish didn't exist. I wish, oh how I wish I could be brave. Courageous. Strong. Diligent. Caring. Forgiving. Kind. Affectionate. Peaceful.
And I am those things, I am, but she tells me that I'm not. She tells me that if I were to say what I really thought or do the things I really wanted to do, I would be rejected. People would laugh. They would walk away- no, run away.
That fear, that half-me person that lives within me, I don't want to put up with her anymore. She is not welcome here. Fear settled around me and swallowed me whole and I let it. It was assisted by words and actions from friends and strangers. Things that cut me down little by little over time until I was smaller than I had ever thought possible. Those words and actions will likely never stop, I can't control that, but I can control how I react to them. Or rather, I can retrain my mind and heart to decipher what is good from what is of no use to me. If it isn't going to help me be better, it is useless.
Fear, do you hear me? you are not welcome here anymore.
Yes, you make sneak in from time to time but please, hear me and know how serious I am, I will chase you away every time. You are not welcome here anymore. You are of no use to me. You are useless. Please, see yourself out. Better yet, I'll see you out. Again and again and again. Every day for the rest of my life.
I know I wont always win this fight on my own. That's whats beautiful though. I'm not alone.
I'm not alone.
I'm not alone.
I'm not alone.
neither are you.
we are not alone.
To anyone who is reading this and feeling this struggle hit far too close to home, please, listen to me...
you. are. not. alone.
Fear doesn't have to control any of us ever again. This world that we live in is beautiful and waiting to be seen and experienced. There is no time for fear.
just be you.
A while back I came across this interview on the Tim Ferriss Show titled "Brene Brown on Vulnerability and Home Run TED Talks." I was intrigued first by the TED Talks reference because I love a good TED Talk (who doesn't?). But there was that other thing... vulnerability. I listened to it and it changed so much for me. Brene is a researcher who studied shame and vulnerability. Who does that? Well, she did, and I'm so glad that she did because now she's talking about what she found.
Do you know what she found?
Vulnerability is not a weakness.
It is a strength.
That's what the research says.
That's what is in the evidence.
Does it always feel like a strength? No. You know that. It feels like the opposite. It feels awful and low and scary. We often build up massive amounts of fear to make sure we don't give in to being vulnerable. We make whole homes out of this fear. We construct entire lives out of it. And to what end? What is it that we are hoping to accomplish? To never feel anything that is real? To never connect with anyone who is real? To never create anything that matters?
Or do we just not want to be hurt?... but if you are never hurt, how can you ever really know what being happy is like? If you can never be hurt then you have nothing to lose but if you have nothing to lose...you have nothing.
Wait. Stop. Please, just listen to the interview. Just listen and really hear what she's saying. Let it sink in for awhile. Days. Weeks. Months if you need to. Just let it be and let it set and be open to change.
Her TED Talk is good and her interview on the Tim Ferriss Show is good but the one I really love is her interview on Chase Jarvis Live. If you are a creative of any kind, I really recommend watching that interview first. I'll even put it right here to make it easy for you.